I have been reinvigorated lately by following Hugh McLeod, the Limey-turned-Texan artist, idea vendor, marketer, and self-described CDF (CrazyDerangedFool).
In this economy and in the overwhelming crush of ideas and messaging, you have to be a little crazy, you have to be a little off-the-wall … you have to STAND OUT from the deafening crowd in order earn the attention necessary to tell your story.
That’s why this recent cartoon of his really speaks to me. George’s first plan better be to re-name himself, jump out of line, change clothes, and break out of the ordinary. But – here’s the key – George’s new George needs to not be another mask marketers wear, but a return to what makes George unique. This level of authenticity, coupled with a real eccentricity, gives George a chance.
Perhaps the crazy ideas are better just because they’re crazy. Perhaps the ordinary plans and ordinary ideas will die just because they’re ordinary. As Seth Godin said a week or so ago, the problem is that you are boring. I am boring – we’re all boring … when we’re simply repeating the party line, doing the standard thing, following the company protocol, going through the motions.
What’s going to make people sit up? Pay attention? Work with us? Hire us?
Here’s a big clue: it won’t be boring. It won’t be standard. It won’t be average. It won’t be a commodity, and it won’t be something you can buy at Wal-Mart.
This, from Hugh’s own experience, is remarkable:
- Drawing cartoons on the back of business cards started off as an act of futility.
- Getting an English tailor to blog in the hope of selling more $5,000 suits started off as an act of futility.
- Launching a national UK supermarket wine via the blogosphere started off as an act of futility.
- Getting Microsoft to re-think about who they are using nothing but a single cartoon started off as an act of futility.
- Choosing a highly irritating puppet to launch a major new French wine started off as an act of futility.
- Convincing one of the most respected publishers in the world to turn a blog post into a hardcover book started off as an act of futility.
- Getting West Texas cowboys to start drinking South African wine started off as an act of futility.
Now. What am I doing that is futile and crazy?
What are you doing that is futile and crazy?